Government & Defence
A bailiff attends to the needs of a trial jury, and serves legal orders and documents, under court orders.
Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does a Bailiff do?
A bailiff attends to the needs of the jury throughout a trial and 'swears in' the jurors and witnesses during court proceedings. Bailiffs are contracted by the courts to serve legal orders and documents, as well as to seize or repossess property as determined by official court orders. Bailiffs may work outdoors when travelling to serve summonses or execute warrants.
Depending on your role, your work could include:
- swearing in juries and witnesses during court proceedings
- serving court papers such as summonses
- taking away goods and repossessing property according to court orders
- executing court orders such as eviction notices
- keeping records of court orders that have been served.
At all times you would have to follow strict laws and guidelines on what you’re legally allowed to do.
Key skills and interests
To become a bailiff, you would need:
- an assertive and confident manner
- the ability to deal with people from all backgrounds
- tact, diplomacy and good negotiation skills
- the ability to keep calm under pressure, as people may become distressed or aggressive
- good judgement
- skills in interpreting and applying legislation.
Working hours and conditions
You would work around 37 to 40 hours a week in a full-time job. You must be flexible and able to cover early mornings, evenings and weekends. Part-time work is possible. You would often work on your own and sometimes as part of a small team.
Most bailiffs work in metropolitan areas, although there are some positions in country areas. Bailiffs can work on a part-time or casual basis.
You may require a valid drivers' licence and use of a car for work.
The job may involve lifting and carrying goods.
How to become an Bailiff?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a bailiff without formal qualifications, but the courts prefer you to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. You would receive on-the-job training.
Your employment prospects may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in legal services, legal practice or justice.
You can also become a bailiff by completing a degree in justice, criminology or legal studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English.
Experience in debt collection, policing, private investigative work or finance may also improve entry to this occupation.
Bailiffs are employed by state, territory and federal governments in courts such as the Federal Court, Supreme Court, Family Law Courts, Magistrates' Courts, district and local courts, as well as in some tribunals. Employment opportunities are fairly limited due to the small size and low turnover of the existing workforce.
However, there are opportunities to get into this field by working as a bailiff's assistant and gaining experience.